WINDSOR, Ont. - Brandon Maxwell made 59 saves and Jonathan Jasper scored in overtime as the Kitchener Rangers stunned the Windsor Spitfires 7-6 Thursday to take a 1-0 lead in the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference final.
"It's a big win, but it's only one game," said Rangers coach Steve Spott. "There's a lot of pride in that (Windsor) dressing room down the hall and we are not going to take anything for granted."
Despite being outshot 21-8, the Rangers emerged from the first period tied 3-3 on two goals from Jeff Skinner and Chris MacKinnon's 13th of the playoffs.
Greg Nemisz, Kenny Ryan and Cam Fowler replied for Windsor in the opening period.
The scorefest continued in the second. Ryan Murphy scored twice and Jason Akeson added a single for the Rangers while Ryan, with his second of the game and Zack Kassian replied for the Spitfires. Windsor's Justin Shugg scored with just 7.4 seconds left in the period tied the game at 6-6 heading into the third period.
A scoreless third period set the stage for Jasper's heroics.
"I don't care what anyone says, the Windsor Spitfires are the best team in the league when it comes to puck possession," said Spott. "You don't want to get into a shootout with Windsor, because they can score a lot of goals very quickly."
Spott, whose team was coming off a seven-game series victory over the London Knights, was particularly pleased with his rookie netminder Maxwell.
"Brandon outplayed Edward Pasquale (Saginaw) and Andrew Hutchison (London) in our first two series, and if we are going to beat the Windsor Spitfires, Brandon Maxwell is going to have to outplay Philipp Grubauer.
"I think he did that tonight."
Grubauer made 29 stops for Windsor.
Shugg chipped in with three assists in addition to his third goal of the post-season while Scott Timmins and Taylor Hall both contributed a pair of helpers. MacKinnon had three assists for the Rangers.
The series continues Saturday night in Kitchener.